Teone Kahu joined Aranui High School’s Theatre Academy in the hope he could pursue his dream of becoming an actor.
Since then he has:
Not bad for a young man who first walked on stage just a little over six months ago.
Academy Director Robert Gilbert said he immediately saw Teone’s potential.
He just had charisma.
Gilbert cast him in the lead role of the school’s production of Macbeth and entered into the regional Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival just before Easter.
Initially rehearsals were a struggle — Teone had difficulty coming to grips with Shakespearean language.
I really had a tough time with the script early on,” he said, “but then Matua [Mr Gilbert] put it down on a CD for me and it all just clicked.
Teone relished the role of the leather-clad Macbeth. He and his classmates were selected to perform at the regional finals.
It was really nerve-wracking being up against some of the top kids in the top schools. I started to wonder if I didn’t belong, but Matua kept telling us we were as good as anyone.
Festival judge Anna McPhail commented that Teone had spoken his lines “in a way that made me hear the text for the first time … what a privilege to have seen this,” she said.
Teone took out three awards that night. Excellence in Acting, a special award from the Canterbury Shakespeare Society for his role as Macbeth and, crucially, direct entry to the National Schools’ Shakespeare Production, held in Dunedin in the October holidays.
Forty of the country’s top high school Shakespearean actors spent a week in Dunedin attending workshops and rehearsals before presenting their final pieces to the public. Organisers then chose 20 to go on to perform at The Globe Theatre in London next year.
Robert Gilbert is thrilled for his young protégé.
I couldn’t be more pleased for Teone. Not everything is great in his world, but this is. We’ve just got to figure out how to raise the money to get him there now.”
“This is just too good an opportunity to miss — and he’s won it over hundred’s of kids around the country — we’ve got to make it happen.
Teone was quickly snapped up by the TV production company, Whitebait. He has had roles in The Erin Simpson Show, What Now, and more recently, IAMTV.
Media release from Aranui High School ― October 2010